This month marks the 10 year anniversary of my piano tuning “career”, when I enrolled on my piano tuning and repair course back in August 2011.
What made me decide to become a piano tuner? Long, long ago back I was a youth not long out of school, deciding what I wanted to do as a job, I was watching my own piano being tuned and serviced by another Sheffield piano tuner. I was interested in his technique and had questions about how he learned such a unique skill. I knew I wasn’t the archetypal piano man, but I’d always had a good ear for music and the moving mechanical parts interested me. At the time I wasn’t doing very much apart from reading books and listening to music, but the clock was ticking and I knew I should learn a profitable skill as soon as possible to avoid drifting. I thought piano tuning be a nice way to earn a comfortable living doing something moderately enjoyable and that not too many other people could do.
Was becoming a piano tuner a good decision? It depends on the day you ask me. The work itself is rewarding, but building a clientele in a declining industry has been a long, difficult slog and the battle is not yet won. Some weeks the money is very good, but suddenly there’s a drop off and it’s not always easy to predict when and why. I think it would have been a more satisfying job in the 1980s or earlier when pianos were ubiquitous and taken more seriously. However, there are signs of a piano revival which is nice to see.
What I hadn’t anticipated was how expensive piano parts would be to have in stock. I generally like to have back up action parts with me to avoid any second visits to the customers home and have been successful in this regard. But the sheer number of felts, hammers, springs, flanges, screws, glues, files, bridle tapes, strings, jacks, wippens, key coverings that I need to have in the car has taken years to build up. Unfortunately there isn’t an ‘industry standard’ for each part, as each piano is a different size and many are built in different countries and by different brands.
A happy new year to you all! I’m not a fan of the icy Sheffield weather in January, but 2021 already looks a promising year for piano tuning! I’m excited about the list of goals I have set myself for what I want to achieve this year. Many of them are modest goals related to the organisation of my business, but with 2020 being such a slow and disappointing year for piano tuners I’m excited to turn over a new leaf. This will be the year I get it all together and my business will be run as smoothly as it was from 2017 to 2019 (the golden years).
I’ve seen some beautiful pianos being sold over eBay recently, so I hope that’s a sign that more people are paying attention to the piano (and more people need their piano tuning!). Sales of classical music are on the rise and I see many younger people turning to the timeless masterpieces rather than repetitive modern music. Maybe the slower pace of life has improved their taste? Who knows?
One of the most pressing goals I have is the need to revamp this website. It has the same layout it had in 2014 and looks horribly dated. More care and attention needs to be paid to it, but I’d like a talented web designer to give it an overhaul and that’ll be expensive. Once I have the funds, I assure you it will be done.
My final belated apology is to anyone who booked me in 2019 and had to wait a while for their yearly reminder. During lockdowns I was hesitant to contact anyone as there was a high chance they’d postpone the booking. After the present disorder and tumult, I will be more prompt and punctual in my reminders – most people need them or they forget. Six months is preferable, but at least once a year is the minimum required for most pianists.
Even though Sheffield is now in Tier 3, I would still ardently encourage anyone to book a piano tuning if they need it. My workload has halved since March, meaning I’m more flexible with my working hours than ever and can work around your schedule. I’ve even had some late night appointments (8 or 9 PM) which has been a first for me. Before the pandemic I regularly worked 12 – 14 hour days, but that doesn’t happen anymore which is somewhat depressing as I do enjoy my work as a piano tuner. I’d hate to have to make piano tuning a part time gig – let me do what I love!
If you’re on the fence about booking a piano tuning, you’re more than welcome to ask any questions you might have via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone 07542667040. I’m always happy to help.
– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.
(Also: yes, this website needs an overhaul. That’s something that could’ve afforded pre-lockdown, but will have to wait until next year.)
In the interest of expanding his clientele in Derbyshire and reaching out to piano-owners in Chesterfield and beyond, the Sheffield piano tuner would like to make this following blog post:
I have had more piano tuning enquires from Chesterfield and Dronfield recently which is great. A big thank you to anyone who has recommended or who has hired my services. Although I live in Sheffield, travelling between towns is part of the job: don’t be put off from contacting me if you live in Chesterfield or a nearby town.
- What is the Sheffield piano tuner’s schedule like?
At the moment he aims to book four jobs a day, six days a week. He is still quite far from that target! For this reason the Sheffield Piano Tuner has kept his prices low, with an introductory offer set at just £45 for your first piano tuning. He keeps his bookings spaced apart to allow enough time to do a thorough job of both tuning and servicing each piano and to enable sufficient travel-time between jobs: there is no longer any excuse for lateness – the Sheffield piano tuner prides himself on his punctuality.
The Sheffield piano tuner is also in the process of setting up a workshop for piano restoration. He is purchasing many high-quality tools and piano-parts which help not only in restoration, but also in any piano repair and regulation work that’s undertook at your Chesterfield home. Loading the boot of his car with an array of piano replacement parts (tools, piano wire, hexacore bass strings, centre pins, felts, springs, hammer heads, hammer shanks, screw drivers, capstan regulating tools, key coverings – to name but a few) is worth it if it means he has the parts in stock to get your piano sounding and playing the best it can. Going the extra mile for the customer is the least he can do, especially in this relatively early stage of building his clientele when developing a reputation is key.
If your piano needs a tuning or a service, please give him a call: 0754 266 7040
Which area does he cover for his £45 introductory offer for a first piano tuning?